'Perfect' - Dom Matteo leaps to defence of Leeds United captain Liam Cooper over Manchester City red card

DOM Matteo has leapt to the defence of Liam Cooper and believes Leeds United's captain was sent off for a "perfect" tackle at Manchester City.

Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 4:13 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 4:14 pm

Cooper was eventually given his marching orders after the intervention of VAR in first-half stoppage time of Saturday's epic victory at the Etihad.

The Whites captain was initially booked by referee Andre Marriner following a challenge on City's Gabriel Jesus from which Cooper won the ball but caught Jesus on the knee with a high follow-through.

Video Assistant Referee David Coote then advised Marriner to check the incident on his monitor and Marriner returned to change the yellow card to a straight red which landed Cooper a three-match ban.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

OFF: Leeds United captain Liam Cooper, right, is shown a straight red card by referee Andre Marriner in Saturday's 2-1 victory at Manchester City. Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images.

Leeds still left runaway leaders City with an impressive 2-1 victory thanks to a Stuart Dallas brace but Cooper will now miss Monday's clash against champions Liverpool at Elland Road plus the fixtures at home to Manchester United and away at Brighton.

Former Whites captain Matteo himself loved a good challenge and believes United's modern day skipper was unlucky to even be booked, never mind dismissed.

"I thought it was a good tackle!" Matteo told the YEP.

"That's me being me but I would have loved that tackle to be honest.

"It was perfect, he took the ball, he took everything.

"We know that nowadays you can't do that and you can't get away with it unfortunately but for me there is nothing wrong with that kind of tackle.

"He was off the floor a little bit but we have seen other teams get away with that such as the challenge on Tyler Roberts in the Sheffield United game.

"Nothing at all happened for that.

"Coops is a little bit unlucky and I think he has been outstanding and is a great leader and a great captain.

"But I think the one thing that he has got to learn and get better at is that he has to maybe just choose when to smash somebody like that and can he stay on his feet a little bit longer?

"That's what the learning curve for Coops would be because you know if you dive in with VAR and all that at the moment one thing is going to happen.

"You are going to end up with a yellow card or a red like we have seen."

Saturday's clash at City was full of contentious decisions as Raheem Sterling received no punishment or VAR intervention for catching Raphinha on his ankle with his studs or standing on 'keeper Illan Meslier's hand.

Raphinha was again in the wars in the closing stages as City midfielder Fernandinho crashed into the Brazilian winger with no attempt to play the ball but Fernandinho was only handed a booking.

Matteo added: "Do the big guns and do Man City get preference over the so called smaller teams?

"I don't know. It's a difficult one. Possibly.

"But we won the game so we can't complain too much!"

A message from the Editor:

Leeds has a fantastic story to tell - and the Yorkshire Evening Post has been rooted firmly at the heart of telling the stories of our city since 1890.

We believe in ourselves and hope you believe in us too. We need your support to help ensure we can continue to be at the heart of life in Leeds.

Subscribe to our website and enjoy unlimited access to local news and information online and on our app.

With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Click here to subscribe.

For more details on our newspaper subscription offers click here.

Thank you Laura Collins